Fostering Community With Creativity and Care

As assistant director in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Michelle Poisson draws on her skills as a graphic designer to make colleagues feel valued.

Before she joined the Dartmouth community in 2009, Michelle Poisson spent a decade working as the art director at Boston magazine.
"I loved every second of it," she recalls of collaborating with designers, illustrators, photographers, and writers. "It was about making everything we touch better, and how we can put a creative, lovely spin on everything we do. I've carried that with me every place I go."
Poisson grew up in Lyme, N.H., and returned to the area with her family soon after she and her husband welcomed two children. Following a stint as an office manager and designer at Dartmouth's Undergraduate Dean's Office, Poisson joined the Dean of Faculty team in 2018 as an administrative assistant in the Office of the Chief of Staff (and was later promoted to her current role as assistant director).
In this role, she says, graphic design gets "folded in" from time to time for projects such as invitations, annual reports, and events.


gift box

For the more than 60 staff and faculty who gathered together on Jan. 10 for the Dean of Faculty New Year's Luncheon at the Hayward Room of the Hanover Inn, Poisson's thoughtful attention to detail could be seen all around. From the custom floral motifs that adorned name tags, gift envelopes, table cards, and chocolate boxes to the miniature silver cardboard cartons guests could take to carry out cupcakes, Poisson approached each element as an opportunity to create a festive and meaningful experience.
In addition to designing the suite of event pieces, Poisson printed and assembled all of them herself.
"With her impeccable design skills and high standards, Michelle elevates the quality of everything we do," says Janet Terp, chief of staff for advancement and administration. "We're so fortunate to have her in our Arts and Sciences community."
For many in attendance, the New Year's luncheon was particularly joyful since it was the first time the event took place since 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's been a long time since all of us were able to get together," Poisson says. "These are my colleagues and I want it to be a special experience. I like that it makes people feel good that I take the time and care to do these special things."
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